Adaptec has shipped the first sample of its Serial ATA RAID controller to four major OEMs, enabling the OEMs to test the technology. Serial ATA is an emerging technology designed to replace today's parallel ATA and provide inexpensive but high-performing technology for desktops, servers, and storage solutions. Adaptec's Serial ATA RAID controller supports RAID levels 0, 1, 5, and 10. The controller is part of the company's software development kit (SDK) for OEMs and early adopters, which will help begin development of early Serial ATA products.
One advantage of Serial ATA is its low pin count. Adaptec's Serial ATA RAID controller requires 7 pins compared to parallel ATA's 40. The low pin count lets computer manufacturers develop systems with cables that are easier to route and install, help improve thermal designs, and facilitate smaller form-factor systems.
Gartner, a research firm, predicts that Serial ATA hard disk drives will grow from a market of less than 1 million units in 2002 to more than 300 million units in 2006. Gartner expects Serial ATA to become the dominant disk-drive connection in late 2004. Adaptec expects to ship its RAID card by the end of the year, around the same time Serial ATA drives are expected to appear on the market.